Berkeley News | July 27, 2015

It don’t mean a thing if the brain ain’t got that swing

Like Duke Ellington’s 1931 jazz standard, the human brain improvises while its rhythm section keeps up a steady beat. But when it comes to taking on intellectually challenging tasks, groups of neurons tune in to one another for a fraction of a second and harmonize, then go back to improvising, according to new research led […]

California Magazine | July 22, 2015

Catching the Brain in a Lie: Is “Mind Reading” Deception Detection Sci-Fi—or Science?

Ever since the inception of our species, humans have wanted to peer inside each other’s minds. A major reason we want to do this is because we lie. We lie a lot, and on the whole, we are quite good at it. The capacity for deception is possibly one of the most significant cognitive gifts […]

Marine Biological Laboratory Blog | July 15, 2015

Can’t Believe Their Eyes: Grass Fellow Explores Puzzling Discovery of Light-Sensitive Cells in Zebrafish Tails

The process of science is rarely predictable: there are some 180s, some hard left turns, and quite a few long and winding roads. Graduate student Drew Friedmann can attest to this fact: a year and a half ago he was pursuing a completely different research topic and getting nowhere. But it was at the end […]

Berkeley News | July 14, 2015

The sleep-deprived brain can mistake friends for foes

If you can’t tell a smile from a scowl, you’re probably not getting enough sleep. A new UC Berkeley study shows that sleep deprivation dulls our ability to accurately read facial expressions. This deficit can have serious consequences, such as not noticing that a child is sick or in pain, or that a potential mugger […]

Berkeley News | July 13, 2015

Intellectual pursuits may buffer the brain against addiction

Challenging the idea that addiction is hardwired in the brain, a new UC Berkeley study of mice suggests that even a short time spent in a stimulating learning environment can rewire the brain’s reward system and buffer it against drug dependence. Scientists tracked cocaine cravings in more than 70 adult male mice and found that […]

Berkeley Neuroscience News | July 8, 2015

Stephan Lammel awarded Brain Research Foundation seed grant for drug addiction research

Stephan Lammel, Assistant Professor of Neurobiology in the Molecular and Cell Biology department, received a seed grant from the Brain Research Foundation to study synaptic plasticity resulting from drug use. You can learn more about Stephan’s research program here. >> Read the full announcement

The New York Times | July 3, 2015

The Science of ‘Inside Out’

FIVE years ago, the writer and director Pete Docter of Pixar reached out to us to talk over an idea for a film, one that would portray how emotions work inside a person’s head and at the same time shape a person’s outer life with other people. He wanted to do this all in the […]

Berkeley Neuroscience News | July 2, 2015

The future is now: Brains, machines, and everything in between

by Sarah Hillenbrand For most of us, it is easy to recall a time we felt frustrated because a machine failed to do what we asked. Whether Siri misunderstood you, you wrote code that crashed, or you dropped your phone in the toilet, you are probably aware that humans and machines don’t always play nicely […]

Berkeley Neuroscience News | July 1, 2015

Christopher Chang Receives the 2015 Blavatnik Award

Howard Hughes Investigator and Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology Christopher Chang has received the 2015 Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists. He’s been honored for his discoveries in chemistry that span both neuroscience and energy science.   >> Read the full announcement